Joannou drops city from proposal

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Suffolk leaders were a little surprised – and a lot satisfied – to learn Suffolk is no longer included in Portsmouth Del. Johnny S. Joannou’s proposal to study merging some Hampton Roads cities.

Initially, Joannou’s bill proposed that a state commission be formed to study the feasibility of consolidating Suffolk, Portsmouth and Norfolk. On Wednesday, he amended the bill by dropping Suffolk.

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&uot;I think it is a good move on Joannou’s part,&uot; said Councilman Charles Brown, as he was leaving the City Council meeting. &uot;What he wants is almost impossible. He is thinking 25 years ahead of his time.&uot;

Mayor E. Dana Dickens III was against the merger study. However, he had recently contacted Joannou and proposed that the study instead focus on how the three cities might merge certain services, such as libraries, water and transportation.

&uot;I wanted to look at ways the three localities could save money …by sharing services,&uot; Dickens said. &uot;Joannou’s apparent focus is on a full-blown merger study.&uot;

While they would not have supported a merger study, both Councilmen Bobby Ralph and Brown said they would have been receptive toward looking at ways to enhance regionalism among the three cities.

&uot;I’m opposed to a merger,&uot; Ralph said. &uot;We are an infant city and it would be premature for us to look at a merger.&uot;